Hunslet   Works No 3168     WD75118    S134 Wheldale 0-6-0ST

Hunslet 3168 Embsay & Bolton Abbey   March 2010.jpg

See LNER class J94 for details.

This locomotive was built in 1944 by the Hunslet Engine Company for the Ministry of Defence. It then entered service as WD 75118.

It was either delivered new to Donnington or went there via the Shropshire & Montgomery Railway which served the Central Ammunitions Depot. It was based at Donnington by October 1946.

In June 1951 it was moved to the Royal Airforce station at Bicester where it gained the name King Feisal in January 1954 which it carried until it was removed in December 1955.

After the war the locomotive carried the number 134 in line with the renumbering of the Ministry of Defence locomotives.

In February 1959 the locomotive was moved to Old Dalby near Melton Mowbray which was a Technical Stores Depot. It left there in May 1963 when it went to Long Marston in Warwickshire.

It was bought by the NCB and moved to the Allerton Bywater Workshops in Yorkshire in September 1965 before going to Primrose Hill Colliery Swillington in March 1966.

The locomotive then moved to Allerton Bywater in March 1971, Newmarket Colliery in June 1978, Allerton Bywater in July 1978, Wheldale Colliery in November 1981.

It would appear the National Coal Board (NCB) simply added the prefix S to make it S134.

During the locomotives period with the NCB it was used to test different grades of coal with an under feed stoker.  

Whilst it was at Wheldale, two ladders were fitted to the sides of the tank, to allow for easier access to the tank filler. These have been retained and serve as a good way of recognising the locomotive.

The locomotive moved to the Yorkshire Dales Railway at Embsay (later Embsay & Bolton Steam Railway) in November 1982.

Wheldale arrived at the railway in good mechanical condition, but required a new set of boiler tubes – thankfully the money was raised for these quickly, and the loco was returned to service for a ten year spell until its boiler certificate expired mid way through the 1990’s.

A sad, forlorn looking Wheldale can be viewed at Bolton Abbey Station – at the far end of the platform.  It’s expected to move to Embsay soon when restoration starts in earnest.

Wheldale is now owned by Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, and a huge fundraising effort is underway to fund its restoration which is expected to cost in excess of £100,000.

In August 2019 it was reported that after many years in storage the locomotive had been moved to the workshops at Embsay. Dismantling work then commenced at the start of what was then expected to be a £300,000 overhaul. At that time more than £130,000 had been raised.

Hunslet 3168 at NCB Primrose Hill Colliery at Swillington, Leeds - Circa 1969.jpg
3168 at NCB Primrose Hill Colliery at Swillington, Leeds – Circa 1969
3168 at the Embsay & Bolton abbey Steam Railway – January 1983
Hunslet 3168 at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway - July 1989.jpg
3168 at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway – July 1989
Hunslet 3168 Embsay & Bolton Abbey   March 2010.jpg
3168 at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway – March 2010
3168 on display at Bolton Abbey Station – June 2019
3168 having its boiler lifted at the start of an overhaul at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway – August 2019
3168 in Statfold Engineering works – October 2019

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